Some continue to send children to work instead of school: activists
With greater support and cooperation from other government departments and members of the civil society, more number of children could be rescued from child labour and brought to the mainstream, according to volunteers of Childline.
Interacting with students of a government-aided higher secondary school in East Tambaram on Thursday to create awareness as part of the National Anti-Child Labour Day, observed on Tuesday, the volunteers said that owing to stiff opposition from parents and other sections of society, volunteers and representatives from non-governmental organisations were unable to rescue several children engaged in child labour.
Volunteers from Childline (1098) said that though they respond to all distress calls, there have been occasions when they were unable to rescue children owing to government rules and norms which specified that their teams should be accompanied by staff from the Department of Labour and also personnel from the local police station. Despite years of awareness programmes at grass root levels, even today there were parents who were reluctant to come to their support and preferred to send their children to garages, eateries and other work places to support their family, the volunteers told students of Jai Gopal Garodia National Higher Secondary School.
According to members of Marialaya, NGO in charge of Childline in Chennai, there were 13 staff who are based in and Tambaram and covered 33 places in the city's southern and extended suburbs, responding to distress calls. In the past eight months, they had rescued 25 children engaged in child labour. In addition, they had helped re-unite missing children with their parents and provide shelter to abandoned and orphaned children, with support from St. Thomas Mount District Police.
With the beginning of the new academic year, there had been a sudden, but marginal increase in the number of children running away from their homes in the neighbouring districts of Chennai. More than a dozen children were re-united with their parents, the volunteers.
A play was also staged on the occasion. Students took a pledge to contribute their bit in eradicating the menace and vowed to call 1098 and register their complaint whenever they saw an instance